Ask Ping!

October 27, 2006 7:30am | by:

Hey Ping-

Today I was talking with my friend, and he asked if I was planning on getting a new “motorbike” anytime soon. Instantly, the hair on the back of my neck stood straight up and I suddenly felt as if ten thousand spiders were swarming my skin. I ran out of the room to splash my face with cold water and think about naked elderly women—anything to get THAT WORD out of my head.
     Upon returning to my friend, I explained to him—in the gravest of terms—that I planned on getting a new bike soon, and NEVER to use that word around me. At my very core, I feel such repulsion toward the use of “motorbike” that I can hardly stand to type it in this e-mail (let alone hit the italics). There must be other victims of this affliction, perhaps we should get together to form a support group, or strangle voodoo dolls of our friends who so recklessly use this abomination of speech.
     I've never been able to put my finger on the source of this madness, but if anyone knows from whence this monster came, it's you. Help me Ping, you're my only hope...
Bill McCann. Portland, OR

Dear Bill,

While using the term motorbike is indeed troubling, I can’t help but feel that there’s a bigger issue here. You ran out of the room and thought about naked elderly women? I’m not a licensed therapist but I’m pretty sure you have some issues. Slapping your friend, slapping

Jay loves motorbikes. Seriously.

yourself or putting a hole in the wall with your forehead would all be acceptable forms or behavior in the situation you described but never, ever is thinking about old naked women a way to suppress disgust. It kind of has the opposite effect. It might even be illegal.
After spending some time on the set of
Supercross: The Movie, (and then weeks in therapy after seeing the reviews) I think we have Hollywood to blame for motorcycles being called motorbikes. That is the same cheesy verbiage that they used in that stinker of a flick and it runs rampant in those circles. In fact, I think I’ve even heard Jay Leno use the word motorbike on his show a time or two. So my suggestion to you, Mr. McCann, is this: Start watching Letterman.

Ping, me and my dad never agree on anything. Every Sunday we sit around our TV and watch whatever motocross or supercross event we can find. Most of the time we hardly get to watch the race because we're arguing about something. I think it’s safe to say I’m right most of the time. Well, this time it’s something I can't seem to find an answer to so i thought who better to ask then PING himself….
     He told me that you arent supposed to pressure wash a bike. I've never heard of that before. In fact, all the pro mechanics on TV pressure wash their riders' bikes. Whenever I go to the local tracks I see guys pressure washing their bikes. He says it wears out your bearings.
     When me and my dad fight, I get really fired up. I hate being wrong, especially when im almost positive I’m right. Oh and just one thing I wanna ask: If Ricky had raced in the MXoN, how do you think he woulda done against Stefan Everts. So far I've smacked around 9 people in the face who say that Everts is faster than the GOAT. Thanks Ping
Bob O'Mara Bailey

Dear Mr. O’Mara Bailey,
You guys are both right on this one. High-powered pressure washers will blow grease out of the linkage and headset bearings if you shoot the water stream directly at them. However, every pro rider and team uses pressure washers to clean their bikes. What does your dad suggest—a hose and a scrub brush? Personally, I’d rather have a squeaky bearing than a grungy, dirty-looking ride. Tell your pops to stop being lazy and grease your linkage every three or four months. But, if you can, say it in a respectful tone so he doesn’t knock you across the garage with a backhand. 

The debate continues

photo: Simon Cudby

As far as the Everts/Carmichael thing goes, well, I’ll have to hold my tongue because Ialmost started an international incident after giving my opinion in a recent column. (Now I know how Mike Alessi feels when he visits Paris.) When a question like that comes up the best thing to do is take a look at the scoreboard, Bob. Who has come out on top every time the two have raced each other on the same sized bike? Therein lies your answer. And if that’s not enough, ask Stefan himself.
     One added note: I wasn’t at the MXdN, but my boss tells me that Everts put in one of the best races of his career, and he’s a great champion—the best there ever was from over there. All this U.S. against Europe thing is making people forget about one key thing: Stefan is done, and what he did ranks as the greatest exit of all time. I pay my full respect to the King of Motocross for that.
But I’d still bet on Ricky every time.


Hey Ping,
I am so tired of listening to the four-stroke bashing. Why is it some people can't stand advances in technology? If people like Henry Ford thought like this we would still be cranking our cars to start them. If you don't like the way our sport and industry is headed then just go light your lantern and sit in front of your tube-style radio listening to The Lone Ranger.
     I am totally fed up with the 2-stroke whining babies get over it. Personally, I think they are just mad about getting smoked weekend after weekend by riders that are better than them, who happen to be on 4-strokes. 
     Here's an idea, maybe you could use your pull with the factories (read: Tornado): Why not put steel tanks and fenders on bikes again, along with 3 inches of suspension travel. Man I can't wait for that bike to roll off the production line. Maybe we could call it the Whining Little Crybaby Class.
Anyway that's all I wanted to say. See you at the races.
Paully Walnuts

Is this the future?

photo: Dick Miller Archives

Dear Mr. Walnuts,
Finally, an angry four-stroke proponent sounds off. The bottom line here, Paully, is that you have nothing to be angry about. You are winning. Two-strokes are on their way out, just like bag phones and rotary dialing and Beta recorders, and the hi-tech world you dream of will be one step closer to becoming a reality. And I, David Pingree, will be the World Champion in the Whining Little Cry Baby class. Now, where did I put the phone number to that guy in China?